Playing Heart BINGO for Kids is such a fun way to practice simple addition and to introduce kids to the basics of probability! This is a fun and simple Valentine’s Day math game that can be used during a Valentine’s Day party or just for fun! Be sure to check out our growing collection of other fun and simple Valentine’s Day STEM activities for kids, too!
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I gathered the following supplies before inviting the kids over to play Heart BINGO:
- A set of 2 dice (we LOVE these big foam dice for games!)
- Conversation hearts or foam heart stickers
- Free Heart BINGO printable game board, available at the end of this post
We sat around our kitchen island. I gave each player a Heart BINGO sheet and a handful of conversation heart candies. (I knew some of those would get eaten along the way so I made sure everyone had 15-20 candies!)
Directions for Playing Heart BINGO For Kids
This is a game my family has played for generations. It’s simple enough for very young children to play, yet adults really get into it, too!
Everybody begins with an empty heart BINGO board. Sit in a circle around a table so that play can proceed clockwise.
The youngest player goes first by rolling the dice. They simply add both numbers revealed by the dice and place a marker on their BINGO sheet over that number.
Play continues clockwise with everyone taking a turn rolling the dice and covering the sum of the two dice on their game board.
If a player rolls doubles (like two 4’s or two 5’s) they get an extra turn!
Rolling a 7
You may notice that there are numbers 2-12 on the Heart BINGO board. However, the 7 is missing, and that’s on purpose!
When a player rolls a 7 they must REMOVE one marker of their choice from their BINGO board. Then play continues to the next player.
Rolling a Number You Already Have Covered
If a player rolls a number that they already have covered, that number is passed to the next player in line who needs it. That player covers the number they received and then play continues with their turn.
For example, if I roll a 6, but my 6 is already covered, but the person to my left needs a 6, that person gets to cover their 6 and then roll the dice and take a regular turn.
Sometimes several players get skipped, especially toward the end of the game. So let’s say I roll a 6 and my 6 is already covered. The player to my left also has their 6 covered, but the person to their left needs a 6. That person, two down from my left, gets the 6 and then they roll the dice and play continues. The person directly to my left got skipped this round and will have to wait for the dice to come around again to take a turn.
If a player rolls a number that everybody in the game already has covered, that player simply rolls again.
The game is over when one person covers all the numbers on their entire board.
A Few Good Tips
It can be super frustrating to roll a 7 in this game. Since there are several ways to make a 7 with two dice it’s also highly probable! Here are a few tips to pull ahead even if you roll a 7:
- First, if possible, uncover a number that is also highly probable like a 6 or an 8. It will be easy to roll that number to recover that space.
- Never uncover a 2 or a 12! Since those rolls are highly improbable, you want to keep the 2 and 12 covered under all circumstances!
- Notice what the person to your right has covered. If they have their 6 covered, but their 8 uncovered, uncover your 6. This will ensure that if they roll a 6 on their turn, it will get passed on to you for free!
If you are playing Heart BINGO with more than about five people you may consider breaking the group into several smaller groups of 4-5 players each. This makes the game progress more quickly and keeps everyone engaged!
Above all, know your audience. If you are playing with very young children that get unhinged if they have to remove a piece, modify the rule so that nothing else happens when they roll a 7 except their turn is over and they pass the dice to the next player.
The end of the game often includes people rolling and rolling and rolling as they try to get a 2 or a 12. This can be tedious, but it is a wonderful hands-on exercise to teach kids about probability! (And patience!) They will be able to see that 6’s, 7’s, and 8’s get rolled often in many different number combinations while 2’s and 12’s are rare. Point out that they are rare because there is only one way to make a 2 and one way to make a 12.
Download your own free Heart BINGO game board below. And have fun!